Good morning from Kyiv, where it is a bone-freezing -5C with a strong wind. This morning, most of the capital’s residents started at 05:55 a.m. because of kamikaze drones flying over the city, on a continued quest to destroy Ukraine’s power grid.
What’s happening today?
At least 13 Iranian-made kamikaze drones were shot down in Kyiv this morning, according to the capital's Mayor Vitaly Klitschko. The blasts hit Kyiv’s central Shevchenkivskyi district.
"Emergency services dispatched," Klitschko said on his Telegram channel.
The head of the Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, said that air defense systems were at work, effectively shooting down drones most of Wednesday morning.
At least two of the capital's administrative buildings, and 4 residential buildings in the Shevchenkivskyi district have been damaged by the "rubbles from a drone," reported Kyiv’s city administration in a recent Telegram post. People were not injured.
"Russia continues the energy terror of the country. But we are getting stronger every day," Kuleba wrote on Telegram.
Meanwhile, the U.S. reported on Tuesday that it is finalizing plans to send Patriot missile batteries to Ukraine, capable of shooting down incoming missiles.
As Russia has increased the number of missile strikes on Ukraine’s power grid, the administration of President Joe Biden could announce the deployment as early as this week, U.S. officials told The New York Times and CNN.
The Patriot is considered one of the most advanced U.S. air defense systems and is usually in short supply.
You can read more about that story here.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has rejected President Volodymyr Zelensky's proposal to begin withdrawing Russian troops over the Christmas period, although it was more of a demand.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there is no question of Russian troops pulling out from Ukraine by Christmas and called on Kyiv to "accept new realities," meaning the annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia.
On Monday, Dec. 12, Zelensky urged leaders of the G7 group of nations to support his call to convene a special Global Peace Formula Summit.
You can read more about that story here.
What was in Zelensky’s latest message?
In Zelensky’s latest address on Tuesday evening, Dec. 13, the president commented on the law on the liquidation of the District Administrative Court of Kyiv, which was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada and signed by him.
The notorious institution, according to Zelensky, has not been able to regain trust, but has managed to return the scandals and strange decisions far from the concept of justice.
"The submitted bill proves the president's commitment to his promises to completely clean up the judicial system, which has lost the trust of the citizens of Ukraine."
What’s the latest military situation?
The Dec. 13 British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update focused on the experiences shared by a well-known Russian nationalist and former military intelligence officer, Igor Girkin.
He claimed he had spent two months embedded as part of a Donetsk People’s Republic battalion on the front line. He recently reported that his experiences revealed a "crisis of strategic planning" in Russia’s Ukraine operation.
"Since his deployment, Girkin has also derided the Russian military’s current emphasis upon constructing extensive, positional defensive works, questioning their utility in modern warfare."
"His comments highlight the fraught debate about the conduct of the war which continues within Russia’s security community."
"Rumors circulating on social media within the last 48 hours suggesting that Russian Chief of the General Staff General Valery Gerasimov could have been fired cannot be verified. However, factional tensions likely extend to the top of Russia’s military hierarchy."
The Institute for the Study of War’s Dec. 13 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
- Ukrainian officials continue to assess that Belarus is unlikely to attack Ukraine, despite a snap Belarusian military readiness check on Dec. 13;
- Russian mil bloggers accused the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) of engaging in performative "excessive reporting" instead of addressing systemic issues with the Russian military and Russian operations in Ukraine;
- Ukrainian intelligence reported that Russian forces are striking Ukraine with missiles that Ukraine transferred to Russian in the 1990s as part of an international agreement that Russia explicitly violated by invading Ukraine in 2014 and 2022;
- US officials stated on Dec. 13 that the Pentagon is finalizing plans to send Patriot missile defense systems to Ukraine.
- Russia continues to use concepts of terrorism as a legal framework for domestic repression.
And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.
Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.
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